On November 22nd and 23rd, the most relevant annual state congress dedicated to volunteering took place, this time at the Seville Conference Center, under the title ‘Adding willingnesses’.
With more than 1400 participants, more than 150 volunteering organizations from all over Spain, mostly of a social nature, and with a total of 70 exhibitors, the congress allowed to learn about good practices and exchange impressions and information with experts from the voluntary sector, as well as with representatives of regional governments, companies and universities that are managing voluntary based programs. Topics that are on the agenda of most non-profit entities, such as, for example, measuring the impact of volunteering, incorporation of new technological solutions or the continuous improvements that is necessary for a proper volunteering management were addressed during the congress.
On the first day, the state volunteer awards were given to recognize the solidarity commitment of entities and anonymous volunteers who make great sacrifices, with an emotional tribute to the volunteers of the Vicente Ferrer Foundation who were victims of a car accident in India this year. Along with the delivery of acknowledgments, we listened to the speeches made by the welfare counselor of the Andalusian Government and the civil governor in the region. In the afternoon, the FCV was part of the debates of the session “Adding more Europe”, with the participation of the director of the European Volunteer Center-CEV, Mrs. Gabriela Civico and CEV vice-president, Mr. Joao Ferreira. The second block was dedicated to the fight against discrimination and intolerance, with the participation of the coordinator of the Movement against intolerance, Mr. Esteban Ibarra and the director of ACCEM, Mr. Manuel Sánchez. The day ended with a visit to the Royal Alcazar of Seville.
The morning of the second day it was dedicated to exchange good practices, such as, for example, the initiative to support crowfunding carried out by the municipality of Tenerife, the change processes carried out by the ‘San Juan de Dios’ Hospital Foundation to improve the support and training of volunteers, or the work of an Andalusian cultural entity, using theater and storytelling to socialize values such as solidarity and care for the environment among children.
Throughout the congress, different volunteering programs got to be known, with innovative and original elements, and dialogue was held with representatives of the Spanish Volunteering Platform, Andalusian volunteering platforms and regional volunteering networks of several regions, not including Catalonia, a region that was almost absent in the congress. It is striking that, of the more than 150 entities participating in the congress, only one Catalan entity was exhibiting (Esplai Foundation), only one took the stage (Vicente Ferrer Foundation, awarded with one of the volunteering award, as has been said), only one was on the list of sponsors and organizers (La Caixa Bank Foundation) and only one participated in the congress (FCV).